Lasers often seem like a futuristic tool with a concept that feels like it’s flying over our heads. However, lasers are used in many ways and have been around for many years in various forms. Orthodontics is one of the common places you will find lasers being used on a constant basis and it doesn’t involve anything overly futuristic or other-worldly.
Orthodontic Lasers Explained
Orthodontic lasers sound a touch scary when described but, they’re truly simplistic and not scary at all. Orthodontic lasers all rely on light energy to execute their purpose. That purpose can be a long list. However, plainly put, orthodontic lasers are used to cut or vaporize tissues. See, a bit scary sounding but, orthodontic lasers are specially crafted to be gentle since the mouth is a sensitive area to work in.
Orthodontic lasers are often broken down into two different types: Hard tissue lasers and soft tissue lasers. You will find that soft tissue lasers are utilized in orthodontics more often than hard tissue lasers are. A hard tissue laser is used for some of the same tissues a dentist’s drill would be used for. A soft tissue laser has far more precision and is used more for tissues like the gums. A commonly used laser in orthodontics is a diode laser.
Orthodontic Treatments Using Lasers
Frenectomy – A lingual frenum is an adjustment made to the flap of skin under the tongue. This can sometimes restrict basic tasks such as speech, chewing, etc. A soft tissue laser is used to cut the tissue in order to make it freer. A labial frenectomy is where soft tissue pieces are removed from the mouth such as a skin tag.
Speeding up tooth eruption – Sometimes, a child might need braces at an earlier age. Something that will hold them back from receiving them is a tooth that hasn’t erupted yet. If the tooth is close enough to the surface of the gum, a soft tissue laser can be used to remove the rest of the gum in order to speed up the tooth growth.
Reshaping gum tissue – This is referred to as esthetic gingival recontouring. This is fancy wording for reshaping or removing bunched or excessive gum tissue. For example, some people may have gums that reach further down the tooth resulting in less tooth and more gum showing. This can appear aesthetically unpleasing to some people. Recontouring can occur in order to reduce the gum tissue showing in order to help more of the tooth to show.
In general, orthodontic lasers are used to remove, reconstruct, reshape, etc. various tissues in the mouth and surrounding areas. Of course, there are quite a few more specific treatments that hard and soft tissue lasers are utilized in. However, the explained treatments are a larger group of treatments that sum up many of the overall work attempting to be accomplished by the use of lasers. Lasers allow for a much easier time in accomplishing these tasks as well.